Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Journey Into the Void

"Dawn greeted me as the sky continued to bleed, painting the breasts of birds with its tears. I did not know whether to laugh or cry, I simply stood in awe of the red breasted robin perched on a solitary limb." 

- Susan Marie 

Fall is near, as I write these words to you now, thinking back to the exact moment above when summer was not even close to having its last dance with humankind. You see, it is a most unusual circumstance that has presented itself in my life. For the past year and a half, I have been severely allergic to pollen. Allergic to pollen. Yes, me, allergic to pollen. Not your ordinary hay fever, sinus headache, stuffy nose, itchy eyes either, the "bronchospasm, cannot breathe, holy crow, I think I may be having an anaphylactic reaction" kind of allergic. 

This is of course nothing new, it has just never been pollen. My dear nature, the lovely budding trees, the ones I put my arms around every chance I get, this physical human body now has turned on me, apparently, and recognizes pollen as an invader. There is no cure, no immune disorder present, no medication, no holistic way to get past this. I tried everything.


The only way to avoid having to use an epinephrine pen or albuterol inhaler followed by a visit to the emergency room is to avoid the pollen. That means staying indoors. 

Staying Indoors! What?! I live in a climate on the East Coast where we may get 3 whole months of warm weather and sunshine and even if I move, which I have no desire to do, pollen still travels via air and that does not solve this dilemma. 

My doctors tell me, "Susan, you are indeed a rare human." 

I agree. 

I take that as a compliment. 

However, I must admit, it takes a strong mental attitude to consistently tell yourself that this too shall pass. I have no fear regarding all of these life threatening situations that have plagued me most of my life and specifically, since a solitary yellow-jacket stung me in my sleep at the tail end of 2015. A yellow-jacket. Yes, a single bug kick started this strange phenomenon that no doctor, no holistic healer, not a single specialist can fix. 

I figured out a backdoor on my own.

Through a series of diverse and interesting outdoor adventures, I timed staying outside as long as possible on high pollen days. The moment my physical body began to react, I went indoors, inside a building or vehicle with windows closed. After being indoors for awhile, I am okay and regain my normal physical immune response. I tricked the pollen, or my body, not sure which, maybe both.

If I stay outside ALL DAY on high pollen days, which is all of Spring, tree pollen [April, May, parts of June] and most of August and September, ragweed], I will surely break out in hives, have extreme shortness of breath and chest pain ending in a bronchospasm, epinephrine pen [or two], inhaler and emergency room. 


This made me become grateful for so many others things I was blind to or simply did not recognize before this extreme heightened sensitivity. 

I am an empath, you see, but an ultra extra sensitive highly attuned empath.

Thank goodness such instances are temporary.

The reason I know it is temporary is this is not the first time I have experienced these situations. They are, for me, stages of immense spiritual growth and eventually, whatever issue is occurring finds a way to balance itself out.

In my experience, this has been via prayer, meditation, getting rid of whatever is toxic, changing careers, living quarters/areas, quitting a job/getting a new one, letting go of people I love who no longer hear me, changing diet, the way I operate and the way I think and feel, most importantly, about myself.

Think when you can apply such massive transitions in your own life. I know you can. You will find past habits falling away from you, people you have always known suddenly leaving your side without rhyme or reason, career changes, changes in your habits, the way you perceive everything and a NEED and WANT to KEEP progressing.

These are far from easy times, they are quite difficult and painful but much like child birth, death, surgery, major illness or heartbreak, you get better. Time does not heal anything, you learn to deal with your own emotions, health, body, mind and spirit. 

Today, I went on  a journey. I love to journey, this is nothing new. 

In shamanic traditions, a "journey" is when the soul leaves the body, and may travel to spiritual aspects of places on the Earth, or may go within the Earth, or above it. The map of these common destinations is referred to as a cosmology. Terms such as upper, lower and middle world are used to divide the cosmology, but there are a wide variety of destinations.

Journeying like meditation is a tool for spiritual growth. It is also a tool that can be used for healing, to obtain information, and in working through psychological issues. 

You can read more about that here --> The Shamanic Journey 

I want to share my discovery with you right now.

Michael Stone from --> Well of Light, has an innate ability to educate and guide people regarding shamanic journeys. He is able to bring people to themselves, whether one fully understands or has no idea what any of this means, in a calm and peaceful fashion. 

I journey on my own a lot and go much deeper relating to healing and love for another, for myself, my ancestors, my family and sometimes, I am not 100% sure WHY I am journeying and may allow my guides, animal totems and power animals to take me where I need to go for what I need to see.

It is imperative though to begin with great intent. 

The video below is a simple guided journey.

Into the Void Guided Journey

I relax into my high backed brown leather chair with my feet flat, grounded to the Earth, close my eyes and turn so I am facing my altar, a place I keep my rocks and gems, my horse blanket on the wall. I begin diaphragmatic breathing, in the background I hear the drumming . . . 

I was swimming in a lake full of heavy muck, some sort of thick, black waste like glue that was heavy, laden and most difficult to get through. It kept trying to drag me down and I kept my head above the water and trudged through. After a long while and out of breath, I finally reached land. I stood, naked, covered with the remnants of this black grime. I bent over and violently vomited out nothing but black. 

I stood and to the left of me, I heard a rushing waterfall. I can almost see it, and thought, "this is where I need to go to get this sludge off of me" and looked to my right, to another path, that was a simple not well worn dirt path surrounded by short grass. I looked behind me and all I saw was a dead world, apocalyptic, everything was black and grey and burning as if everything I just came from was bombed, burned to the ground, wasted. I looked again to my right and chose the dirt path instead of the waterfall. 

It was a short path and when I reached the end of it I looked before me and saw an Indian village. I did not recognize the tribe. Everyone was busy with their lives, preparing meals, fires cooking, children running about, and I began to walk forward. This felt right to me, like home. As if I had been here before. I was welcome.

Immediately upon being spotted, a dear friend of mine, River --> L.R.Heartsong, came to greet me on my right. He knew everyone here, this was a place he practiced and learned in, a place of healing and love where he was known. I was put upon a bed made of what I saw as braided rushes. The women were cleaning the black sludge off of my body with water in hand made bowls and medicine men danced around me speaking words I never heard before yet somehow knew what they meant.

River was busy treating me. His hands were scanning my body from top to bottom as the women continued to wash and the men continued to dance. 

I opened my eyes then and I wanted very much to stay there but I could not. This journey had ended for now. I knew exactly what this meant. There was no doubt about the message. I got it. Loud and clear. 

I thanked my ancestors, my guides, the four corners and everyone who watches over me. 

What a beautiful message to receive before the new moon. 

Tell me, what do you see when you close your eyes? 

Words & Photo © Susan Marie

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ducks, Birds, Squirrels and a Shaman

words & photos  © Susan Marie

I have always adored nature. 

When I was a toddler, camping at Allegheny State Park [told to me by my Mother for I do not recall] after playing in nature, my Mother saw I had two fat cheeks just like a chipmunk.  She immediately came to me to see why my cheeks were so big and she found a bunch of rocks in there.


Yep, I put a bunch of rocks in my own mouth. 

Rocks found in the dirt of the forest. I have no idea where I got them from, but I ended up with trench-mouth [who even ever gets that?] and all I can think of now is I hope they tasted good! 

After that, and to this present day, I collect rocks. All kinds of rocks, gemstones, ones found in sand and dirt, collected from streams, given to me as gifts. Rocks. Everywhere. Pull open a drawer looking for tape? Rocks. Checking pockets in the winter for a pair of gloves? Rocks. Pulling out a box to look for paperwork? Rocks.

I simply adore everything of this Earth. I guess that is why I had to have those rocks so close to me as possible, by putting them INTO my mouth. Maybe I tried to eat them, who knows? All I do know is this was not a strange thing to my Mother, me, with a mouth full of rocks.

Which brings me to the other day . . .

Human existence takes us on delirious twists and turns and we often do not understand the ultimate greater objective of anything until later.

This was not one of those days. 

Picture this: 

A beautiful summer afternoon, perfect weather, not too hot or muggy, the kind of day where you just feel the sunshine soaking into your entire being and it feels utterly right, correct, you understand that you are being filled up with something far more intense than what the human mind can comprehend.

Look to the sky, cobalt, royal blue, the clouds just sit there like cotton candy, and from a distance, there is what seems to be a hawk flying towards you. You rush to grab a camera, cell phone, anything, and get outside to capture this rare gift. Standing there, the "hawk" comes closer, flying TO you, directed FOR you and as it gets closer you realize it is a turkey vulture. The wingspan on this bird is astounding. As it draws near, you watch it glide on the wind, as if flying was a simple task and the magnificence of the wings, each feather, the flight, leaves you wide eyed in wonder.

Of course I was recording the entire scene, I have to, I document everything. It is part of what I am here to do.

The moment the vulture started coming right AT me, I lifted my arms up and saw both wings straight out, right above my head, and it zoomed down, then back up and as it did, I saw the underbelly of one of the most beauteous beasts. 

 [video below]

Knowing this is not an ordinary visit because this solitary vulture has made itself apparent to me for the 4th time in 2 weeks, I refer to my knowledge of animal totems:

"Choose paths that support your higher consciousness and your heart. Use your resources combined with past experience to approach problems from a different angle. Allow yourself to use all of your senses to navigate through situations for your highest benefit. Call on all your resources to get the job done. You are fiercely protective of those you feel responsible for but know when to allow others to sink or swim. Recognize the need for higher awareness in all those around you. Use energy powerfully and efficiently. Soar to extraordinary heights. Do not allow things to weigh you down. This is the energy of the Earth, the natural order of things, the power of the Shaman." 

Strong medicine. Point taken.

Then I had to get right out in nature.

I went to one of my beloved parks with my son, one where I often step into other worlds quite seamlessly, a place where unusual things occur and somewhere that I call home. I drive around the bend in the park and see a certain flock of ducks, squirrels and birds that are always on a certain patch of grass that is part of an immense part of the park. The wildlife only stays to the out-most corner though and I always wondered why.

I grab my camera and start walking. I tread slowly, knowing the animals may be leery of me at first but soon as I let them know I am not a threat they start accepting me as one of their own. I snap photos and take video, the animals are now, what it seems, to be posing for me and then I hear a whistle - whoo-hoooo - from behind rows of pine trees.

I look around.

There is an elderly man standing there by a gate. A house I know well yet never pay much attention to. The house is on the corner of a main road in the city, an extremely busy intersection. I have driven and walked past this house most of my life.

Today, I heed the call. I feel absolutely right and safe in doing so. Subconsciously and spiritually, I already know who this man is without knowing.

He speaks in broken English:

I have something to show you both, come here. 

So we do.

My son side-eyes me wondering what this is about. I mumble, do not worry, it is fine, I will explain later, smiling the entire time.

As soon as we pass the gate, we enter another world. There was only the sound of nature, wind, tree branches swaying, birds singing, critters hopping about, ducks quacking and I was unable to hear a single noise that is normally palpable on the city streets right beside this house.

Without speaking much, we followed this weather worn man into his sacred space. He led us to the main garden with a massive water fountain that has four goddesses around it in a circle. Beyond that are various DIY feeders he built for all the animals that stay so close to his land. He introduced himself to us and we, to him and he motioned for us to keep following him. Beneath an immense covering of grape vines, he started focusing on my son.  

He asked him of his studies and what he plans to do with his life. My son answered, mentioning environmental studies and art as his dual majors. This man, ancient of soul, began speaking of the great philosophers, of Socrates and Pilates, of art and nature. Of the sacredness of the words of those that passed before us, of ancient blessed rituals and practices that no longer exist in society. Of the importance of not being typical. He said one thing to my son, looking him dead in the eye:

Do not lead an ordinary life.  

We continued on, through narrow passages that led into majestic gardens, flowerbeds, statues of ancient art and philosophers, into gateways that led to picnic areas and tables, even a nice setting for afternoon tea. This small parcel of property was suddenly 300 acres.  The only sounds, birds and squirrels. 

We were about 10 feet from a busy city street. 

I no longer wondered why wildlife stayed to this one specific corner of the park. They knew where they were most safe, away from the hum-drum drone of everyday everything and people that abuse and kick at them in the park. They knew that at any given moment, they had an escape plan.

Right here, where we were now standing. 

After conversations about nature, wildlife, spirituality, I asked the man where he was originally from because I knew he was an Indian and knew he was a Shaman before we even entered his space.

He looks to my son: 

Do you know where South America is? 

My son answers: Yes, right below North America. 

The man, pleased, nods his head and begins to tell us about Peru, Macchu Piccu and that he is a descendant of the Inca

I knew we were in good hands. 

Did he tell me he was a Shaman? No. Did he say he was anything other than a human being that came to America a long time ago with nothing yet made a good living for himself via hard work? No.

What he did do was speak without having to say a single thing. 

I keep his name private and photos of him with my son and I private to protect his space, to protect wildlife that gather there and to protect this dear man who saw us both crouched low, in reverence in the grass, just like the geese, squirrels and birds.

He told us to come visit anytime . . .

Human existence takes us on delirious twists and turns and we often do not understand the ultimate greater objective of anything until later. 

I am happy that I choose to always take the twists and turns.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Mystic

The blood of channels of ages
of ancient mad philosophers
waking at dawn,
resting bare feet
upon the face of Mother Earth,
staring in wondrous awe
to a skyline that speaks
of truth and wisdom.

Whispers of the velvet night,
and the newborn dawn,
sing in hushed angelic choirs,
comforting the spirit,
guiding the traveler,
like lanterns held high
in the searing desert sand,
telling the mind, body and soul,
to keep

The well is not far,
dear friend,
and it is deep. 

The moss covered stones
have secrets
for you.

Step lightly,
in reverence,
drink of only
what is required
to sustain your spirit,
for there are others
following your tracks,
even if hidden
by the wailing wind.

They follow your scent,
like fireside smoke
above this dying world.

for you are blessed
with the knowing
that existence is eternal,

and that this life 

is but
a dream. 

words & photography © Susan Marie 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


in the spaces
between us,
the cracks
and crevices
of time -

the evolution
of the Earth,
on its Axis,

the tear
the smile,

the cirrus wonders,
and celestial star-showers,

the words spoken
in haste,
and ones never

the listless breaths
caught in passion,
and released
through lips

in the shine
of heaven,
and the tarnish of hell,

in between,
the light and dark
shadows of our souls,

are merely
- cracks -
like lines on palms,
- direction -

- the middle of the road -

connecting me
to you,
and us,


words & photo © Susan Marie